Dangerous Liaisons follows the sexual exploits of five aristocrats testing morality in pre-revolution France. La Marquise de Merteull (Lainne Davis) and her lover Le Vicomte de Valmont (Bobby Coyne) cook up a sexual plan of revenge preying on the most innocent and moral around them. In two acts, the characters’ religious and carnal beliefs are questioned, and relationships strained. But, both the tricksters and deceived characters come to an equally tragic end.
The talented troupe of actors has composed meaningful relationships and believable characters well beyond their years and experience. Coyne carries every scene to acclaim as the unpredictable French playboy the audience is dying to hate, but needs to love. Jamie Satterfield, as Cecile Volanges, with her deftly played savage exploration of adolecensent desires. Chloe Mlinarcik breaks hearts with her performance as a moral woman fighting base instinct, La Presidente de Trouvel.
However, Davis is not entirely convincing as the chess master controlling the board of sexual conquests. Her biting lines lack the wit and passion questioning the comprehension of her character’s motives.
Dangerous Liaisons plays out beautifully in the intimate Outcult Theater. Under direction of Russ Borski the actors move constantly within the scenes, playing naturally to the audience surrounding all three sides of the stage.
Every seat may as well be in the front row. The audience feels right with the characters in every steamy sexual encounter. Not one critical line of dialogue, though sometimes stumbled upon, is unheard. And, every amount of seamless anguish or elation is visible.
The energy and realism behind every line of dialogue has rejuvenated this play for a younger audience.
In fashion akin to Shakespeare, the stage composes of three chairs and two chaise lounges serves for every room in every scene. The open set design choreographs silent conversation between scenes. The simple, functional set plays contrast to characters’ elegant silk dresses and embroidered overcoats designed by Terry Piertiz. Dangerous Liaisons is the hot and heavy classic, but maybe leave your dad at home.
Where: Outcult Theater , Playhouse Square
When: February 25 – March 6